Tuesday, June 30, 2009

My cold is hungry

I have a cold. A summer cold. It's 110 degrees and humid (Phoenix Monsoon weather) and I have a cold. Runny nose. Tearing eyes. Scratchy throat. If I wash my hands all the time, how could this happen to me! Whatever.
Here's the thing: When most "normal" people are sick, they lose their appetite. Sipping soup or eating dry toast is about all they can manage. Now, I admit that I'm not so sick. I mean, no fever or aches and pains. I did take a nap this afternoon, though, so that indicates that I'm not well.
So normal people don't want to eat when they're under the weather. Me? I'm starving. So hungry. Feed a cold. Starve a fever. Is that it?
Well, my cold is hungry. And I'm feeding it. Had my morning smoothie (yogurt, milk, banana, strawberries, chocolate syrup). Then...you might not understand this unless you're Jewish and from NYC...for lunch I had a bowl of wide egg noodles and cottage cheese. Comfort food for me.
Right now I'm getting ready to make turkey burgers, sweet potato fries and grilled veggies. I picked some figs from the tree out back and I'll grill them, drizzle them with honey and eat them with some yogurt for dessert.
And then? Well, it depends if my cold is sated by then or not.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Vacations of gluttony remembered

Each time we plan a vacation, food dominates the trip. We won't travel to a location that doesn't have good restaurants. Instead of researching museums and cultural sites, I research restaurants. I study chowhound, buy Zagat books, read through yelp and citysearch postings. I make lists. I read the food section of local newspapers online. When I get to our destination, I'm armed with reservations and maps to the local eateries. I'm obsessed.
We ate in 13 restaurants on our first trip to Napa. The trip was only seven days long. Most of those were lunch and dinner meals. Big meals. It was a vacation of pure gluttony (and gustatory pleasure). No photos of us. We were too fat. Didn't want to be immortalized at that size. (Funny, I would give anything to be that size again!). No. Just pictures of food. Gorgeous, delicious food.
Even our LA trips are centered on where to eat. I'm an avid reader of chowhound Los Angeles as well as the LA Times food critics. We usually have our first feast as soon as we arrive on Friday night. Saturday morning is always bialys at my husband's favorite place. He says they remind him of home (NYC he means) even though I doubt that either of us, after living away from NY for over 30 years, remembers what a NY bialy tastes like. Then lunch. Something grand and glorious. And dinner is always special. Don't forget the snack chocolates we buy for the room should we find ourselves starving before we go to bed at night. Food food food. It's all about food. Visiting the Getty? I don't know. What's their cafeteria like?

Sunday, June 21, 2009

More on rice cakes

"If it's good for you then I like it. If not, then I don't". Words of wisdom from my husband about the chocolate crunch rice cake I just asked him to taste.
So, is it good for him? It's only 60 calories. That's good, I guess. It's made with whole grain brown rice but no fiber content is listed on the label. Strange.
Only 1 gram of fat. I suppose that's good. So, of the 60 calories, 9 of them come from fat. 1 gram of protein. Not significant. 12 grams of carbohydrate with 4 grams coming from sugar (that's 16 of the calories from sugar) so that little light fluffy airy crispy nothing contains 1 tsp of sugar.
Now that's because I bought the chocolate crunch kind. By the way, the"crunch" is not from anything that is added but just because it's crunchy from the puffed rice and the chocolate is just on the outside, not all the way thru the cake.
So that's what a rice cake is--like puffed rice cereal. Which I would rather have. With milk. And fruit. To eat from a bowl with a spoon. Like real food.
The label suggests topping the rice cake with fat free whipped topping mixed with cocoa and sugar substitute, topped with strawberries. What? Fat free whipped topping? I don't think so. Yuck. I'd rather give up food for a week than eat that. I can't abide faux food. If you follow the recipe, the resulting "treat" offers 100 calories (not bad) and 1 gram of fiber (from the berries).
You know, I love crunchy food. Fried chicken. French fries. Potato chips. Taco chips. Fried onion rings. Anything breaded and fried. So the rice cakes appeal to me because they are crunchy. But even though they don't really taste "good", they could represent a problem for me. Because they're crunchy. I wouldn't just want to eat one. Once I start crunching, it's hard to stop. I'd rather crunch on fried chicken because that at least provides protein, vitamins and minerals. The rice cake, nothing.
Look, I understand the appeal. It's midday. You're craving something crunchy (and possibly sweet). And you don't want a carrot or an apple (I wouldn't either). So a rice cake might just be the answer. Not for me. I don't like the taste in my mouth right now.
It's not a good idea for me.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Cupcake Kebabs?

So, cupcake kebabs. Are these necessary? Wouldn't it be enough

to just have cupcakes or pink marshmallows or cookies? And is each skewer one serving? Even I'm grossed out by this one. Maybe it's because I don't really like cake and I'm not so much into marshmallows. Perhaps if they were crispy cookies, ice cream balls and potato chips kebabs I would be interested.

What's up with rice cakes?

What is it with dietitians recommending rice cakes as good snacks? Yes, they're crunchy and crunchy is good when you're feeling mouth hunger. But a rice cake without something on it is pretty gross. Dry. Isn't a good snack something that not only satisfies hunger and the need to chew and swallow but shouldn't it also be good for you? So, I get that it is very very low in calories (and taste) but those are "empty" calories.
And if I'm hungry, I need calories not just something to fill up the space for a few minutes. So that means adding peanut butter or some other topping to the rice cake and voila, now it's not so low in calories.
Are there whole grain rice cakes? Hmmm. I don't know. Yes, just checked. Even the brown rice cakes are low in fiber but at least they have some fiber.
I just think that a snack should do more than just satisfy hunger. It seems to me that a rice cake would only do that for a short time anyway.
So I'm going to buy some rice cakes today and see for myself. I mean, I don't want to be critical if I haven't experienced their weight loss powers.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Birthday Gluttony

What does a fat dietitian do on her birthday? Why, eat, of course. In fact, it's been a weekend of gluttony. Friday night was Chinese food. Large quantities of Chinese food. For dessert, a hot fudge sundae. Saturday dinner was fried chicken, smothered potatoes, collard greens (see, green veggie!), very sweet and delicious fountain coke. Oh, and about five chocolate truffles--a gift from a wonderful friend. Sunday. What to eat today since it is the real birthday day. One truffle for breakfast followed by the usual gargantuan smoothie. That all went down easily. I know dinner will be sushi. What to eat before dinner? Hmmmm. Pizza? How to cap off the day? Another hot fudge sundae perhaps. Tomorrow I will lament not having had ribs. I was thinking about ribs. But I'm also thinking about sushi. Choices. When it comes to food, it's difficult to choose. I might actually have had enough. Here I'm allowing myself complete freedom to eat as much of whatever I want. And I'm running out of ideas.
What do I want for my birthday? Dara Torres abs. What did Dara eat for her birthday?

Friday, June 12, 2009

How to stop hating your body

Dara Chadwick, author of You'd Be So Pretty If...:Teaching Our Daughters to Love Their Bodies--Even When We Don't Love Our Own, has written the following blog post:


I've got a simple solution to how to stop hating your body--get old. That might create even more displeasure for some women but for me, it's given me "closure" on the subject. I will never again be someone who turns heads unless it's for some gross reason. I will never again wear revealing clothes or be expected to look leggy and gorgeous. In fact, no one would want that. Or at least no one who is sane. So the pressure is off. Looking good, maybe. Looking great, never.
There will be sagging skin and an expanded waist regardless of my weight. A bulge here, a dimple there. It's all part of aging. So now I can let go. The image isn't pretty but it's comforting. It's my body.
I do wish I had felt this way long long ago, in my youth. Because if you lose weight or exercise just to look better, it's bound to backfire. No one will ever look the way they want to. That idealized self. We cannot attain it.
I honestly don't remember what my skin looked like five years ago. I don't recall when the lines and wrinkles appeared or how smooth my skin was before they showed up. I think I remember what a flat belly looks like but it's been a long time and I'm not certain. I did have one, though. I know that. In fact, I even had the Dara Torres abs that I still dream about.
Why, I probably still do have those abs. But they're covered over with a nice thick layer of fat. They're there, though. They would have to be with all the ab exercises I suffer through.
So, acceptance. This is who I am. And it will get "worse" and never get better. And so it goes. My only regret is that I didn't know that I looked pretty good when I was younger. If you're young and reading this, just remember: You're going to get old. Treasure your body now. Not only to take care of it but also to admire it and accept it because it's going to change no matter how well you take care of it.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Gym Trash Talk

Overheard at the gym this morning from two women on elliptical(who, by the way, were not working out hard enough as evidenced by their ability to carry on this inane conversation without being out of breath)
Woman 1: I'm working out extra hard today. I've got to lose the two pounds I gained yesterday.
Woman 2: Two pounds? That doesn't mean much in one day. Might just be a regular fluctuation.
Woman 1: Doesn't make any sense. I only ate 1/2 cup of bran flakes, 1/2 cup of skim milk and one slice of pizza yesterday. I drank a lot of water, though. I worked out for two hours last night. How could I gain two pounds!

1/2 cup cereal, 1/2 cup skim milk, one slice of pizza. The whole day? If I were her body (and thankfully, I am not), I'd be pissed at her, too. I'd gain weight just to make her angry!

Friday, June 5, 2009

Piece A Cake video

OMG. I want to laugh at this short video (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2aSCsdM5vPI), but I can't. It's too painful because it's so real. It's what I go thru every time I contemplate passing over into calorie hell. And, like the protagonist, I allow myself to pass into hell only after torturing myself just long enough to make sure I'm consumed with guilt and disgust. Then, and only then, will I step into the abyss and consume whatever. For me, it wouldn't be chocolate cake. It would most probably be fried chicken or really just some huge quantity of food. Quantity. Not chocolate. Probably fried. Or maybe just sauced. Whatever. When will the madness end?

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Cookie transgression

How do you bake cookies without tasting them? Sure. I shouldn't be baking cookies. Because I cannot do it without tasting them. But I am baking cookies. Double chocolate ones. For a party. To be served with ice cream. Double whammy. I planned to assess their doneness by visual inspection but, alas, I succumbed to the smell of buttery chocolaty cookies. So far I've only eaten one. I intend to freeze them until Sunday. Frozen chocolate cookies taste pretty good, though.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Diets made me fat

Some dietitians admit that they were attracted to the study of nutrition because they were living with an eating disorder. My obsession with dieting began way after I started studying nutrition. Perhaps I can blame my nutrition knowledge for my weight gain?
Of course I dieted when I was younger. There was the Stillman diet (I think it was also called the Drinking Man's Diet or maybe that was another one popular at the time) and Weight Watcher's was "invented" sometime in the 1960s when I was a young adolescent/adult. Interestingly, I wasn't fat then. I think I probably weighed about 50 pounds less than I do now. But I did diet and eat erratically but not with an obsession about it. I also made up my own diets like the time I ate only pistachio nuts and drank Pepsi (yes, with sugar). I seem to recall losing weight on that diet. Don't remember how I felt, though. I think I went on WW early on because my aunt, who lived next door, was on the diet. All I remember from those days is that you weren't allowed to have plain bread....it had to be toasted. We all thought that toasting the bread decreased the calories. It was only after studying nutrition that I learned that the "act" of toasting was just a behavioral technique. Oh, well. It was fun to think that toasted bread had less calories. That you could "cook out" the calories.
I don't even recall if we owned a scale when I was growing up. I grew up drinking full fat milk, eating regular butter, french fries every night for dinner, fried chicken as often as I could coax my mother to make it for me, cheesecake, ice cream, pizza...the list of now forbidden foods. Isn't that weird? I grew up on a diet of foods that we all now think are "unhealthy" but I wasn't fat at the time nor were my parents. My father had a "belly" but that came and went with his alcohol consumption not diet.
And I know I was not obsessed with what I was eating the way I am now.
Vegetables. My parents were obsessed with vegetables. We had to eat our veggies or we couldn't leave the table. But they didn't know or care about calories and fat. At least they never talked about it.
So it seems that the study of nutrition has helped to make me fat. No. I'm not kidding. Of course, I'm totally responsible for my weight. But learning about what to eat and what not to eat has made me super-vigilant and obsessed. A little knowledge is a dangerous thing.